My first excursion into the villages was to Erongaricuaro. Here we visited the market and two schools. The trip out was made by Combi. These are vans converted to act as small public buses that people can ride for a reasonable price. They run all day, we never waited more than ten minutes to catch a ride. I have no doubt we served as a curiosity to the villagers.
This was taken from the combi. Between the line of stacked rocks midway through the picture is a fence for livestock. These are volcanic stones held together only by gravity. In the foreground is a road sign indicating the presence of a speed bump. I swear this is the only thing that would slow drivers down. We saw a lot of accidents mostly minor, one more serious. The roads typically lack shoulders and drivers frequently failed to heed “do not pass” signs.
In the village of Erongaricuaro, this photo shows the upper level of a home. Potted flowers and bright paint were common everywhere. It was beautiful. It made me feel my own home quite dull! I also noted how seasons were different. Not only were poinsettias starting to flower but so were irises, geraniums, and begonias. There also seemed to be a lot of wild cosmos.
Here is yours truly at the market. I’m standing next to vendor stall selling dried beans (frijoles). While prepared very nicely and served in various forms, I was ready to pass on beans by the end of the trip. We were offered beans for breakfast, beans for lunch and, you guessed it, beans for dinner. These people are getting their fiber!
These pictures come from the elementary school. Above is a 3rd grade class in their school uniforms. They were very engaged in their studies. Cooperative learning seemed to be very successfully employed. It seems they do particularly well in math. Those that migrate to the U.S. often come here with better math skills than their peers in the U.S.
Recess time – today a tug of war. A bulletin placed on an outside school wall listed the budget for the school. For one year, the school ran for about $7,500 per year. Amazing. The teacher/principal (wears one hat in the morning and the other in the afternoon) talked with us about her students. Like us, she was concerned for students who spent their school years in two different countries. She was very generous with her time and commitment to her kids was evident. As we were about to leave she asked to take good care of her kids (students in the U.S.).